by Wendy Lotze, Volunteer Program Manager, Arizona Trail Association
The Arizona Trail Association’s (ATA) Trail Skills Institute video series is now online and available to the public. Each of the eight videos are less than six minutes long and are available for anyone to stream free of charge in order to remove any barriers related to cost, geography, or time constraints. The videos were produced by Outdoor Evolution Media using a variety of filming techniques and modern social media cues to establish a film series that would be informative as well as fun to watch–especially for younger viewers.
Content was developed in partnership with local conservation corps, including American Conservation Experience and Arizona Conservation Corps, to provide professional quality instruction. Quizzes accompany each video to reinforce key points and track progress toward a completion certificate. While this is not meant to replace in-person instruction, the Certificate creates a sense of accomplishment and well-earned pride to even novice trail workers, further encouraging them to stay active on the trail.
The series was a long-standing goal of the ATA that moved up on the priority chain as a result of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Trail Skills Institute’s hands-on training series paused at the same time trail organizations nationwide experienced an explosion of interest in both trail-related recreation and volunteerism. Being outdoors was a safe way to recreate and escape the pressures of living in a pandemic, but classroom settings–even
The ATA didn’t want to throw something together to fill a temporary hole, however. The aim was to create videos which were accessible and engaging to a more diverse audience and which gave potential volunteers a greater level of comfort for what they might expect from a day spent giving back on the trail.
The series was developed for the unique challenges related to trail maintenance in the arid landscapes of Arizona, though many of the concepts are universal including proper vegetation pruning techniques and sustainable drain construction.
If you’d like to explore using these videos in your own program, ATA would love to hear more about how they can help your volunteers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more or check out the series on the ATA website at: aztrail.org/get-involved/trail-skills-institute/online-trail-skills-institute-video-series/